2011 sees us once again partnering with driving training guru Colin Hoad of CAT Driver Training. Colin is a well known industry figure not only currently residing as driving expert for EVO magazine but also as author of our excellent and popular monthly Driving Masterclass series. If you’ve not been keeping up, here are editions 1 to 3 again.

  1. Steering
  2. Dissecting the Corner & Grip Limit Signals
  3. Braking

The 2 courses on offer this year; on the 1st May is ‘Performance Driver (Track) Training and on Sept 11th is Group Drifting and Over Grip Limit Handling, both can be reserved here and are held at the famous Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire, popular with Top Gear and as used in the Bond movie, Casino Royale. The facility boasts the mile straight, 2 mile banked bowl, steering circle, inner and outer tracks, ride & handling course and the excellent and fun alpine loops.

The Performance Driver (Track) Training lasts from 8.30 to 5.30pm and is for six participants.

  • 1.5 hours professional in car tuition & driving time
  • access to drive 5 unique circuits at the Millbrook Proving Ground
  • mechanical support from our professional race engineer
  • lunch and refreshments throughout the day
  • on circuit toilet facilities
  • our famous timed shoot out finale – the End of Day Gymkhana in our Caterham 7
  • full emergency services on hand all day
  • exclusive facilities
  • Quiz, Driver of the Day and Fastest Time of the Day “shoot out” prizes and presentations

A structured day with a carefully crafted itinerary designed to cover the key aspects of performance driving, effectively bridging the gap between both road and circuit techniques. Day one of a five day programme, your journey of discovery starts here. You will visit and enjoy the 5 key circuits on the Millbrook Proving Ground. A dedicated circuit for each learning experience, there really is no better place in the country to begin your driver development programme.

The corner starts a long way before you turn the steering wheel! You will experience and perfect:

  • ABS braking
  • ABS brake and avoid
  • Threshold braking
  • High G linear retardation of a vehicle from in excess of 100MPH

Braking – Effective braking techniques reduce your lap time and structure the turn in phase of a corner. You will explore and develop specific braking elements in finite detail, on a circuit designed for the task. No TRAFFIC, NO LATE BRAKERS, NO ONE SITTING ON YOUR BUMPER. Just you, the car and your instructor and as many runs as you need to perfect your technique.

High Speed Driving – 2 miles of banked tarmac, 5 lanes – a perfect circle. Tiff Needell holds the official record at 197 MPH, a Porsche test driver the unofficial record at 206 MPH. So yes, you can train in safety well within the envelope of grip at speeds in excess of 120MPH. You will focus on the core elements of driving at speed, the subtle changes in technique required for you to remain safe and in control. Let’s not ignore the car, compliance steer, bump steer and role steer to name just a few, all affect the behaviour of your vehicles dynamic platform when driven at its limit of adhesion. You will FEEL and isolate these dynamic characteristics, in safety. The result, true comfort and dynamic harmony with your vehicle at speed.

Understeer & Oversteer – An open expanse of slippery concrete or tarmac, ”line trace” the painted radius at grip limit to explore understeer and oversteer. Discover the relationship between throttle and steering inputs when at steady state grip limit. As you make a steering input there is a friction loss between the tyre and the road. In this scenario the throttle pedal levels the car through a turn and steers it at grip limit. Explore your limits and the vehicles, drive at the limit of adhesion in safety on a dedicated exclusive use circuit.

Circuit Cornering Techniques – Fast and challenging, designed to test even the most experienced drivers.Basic and advanced cornering techniques are explored and practised in safety. Out objective? To ensure that you finish the day with a systematic approach to cornering, transferring our skills to you, enabling you to manage and maintain optimum apex speed when driving a corner on circuit. You will dissect each corner and look at the minutia of driving different radius corners and the effects of correct braking and observational techniques on circuit speed and safety. You don’t just learn how to drive the Millbrook Handling Circuit, you are given the tools to work any circuit effectively.

Alpine Route – We are nearing the end of the session, this is the consolidation phase of the day. Piecing each circuit building block together to achieve safe fast consistent laps on one of the most demanding circuits you will ever drive. Blind crests, adverse cambers, differing road surfaces and every variation of radius you can imagine. Then finally back to the Handling Circuit to finish the day with a consistency challenge. Your instructor will expect 5 timed laps all within half a second of each other!!

Our previous article with more details of the event can be found here. For £379 per person for six people on the day, you’ll explore your and your cars performance and learn the higher level of skills required to increase your ability a huge amount. An excellent course and highly recommended.

Details about the Group Drifiting and Over Grip Limit Handling Course which is held with a maximum of four people at a cost of £315 per person.

You will learn the secrets and master over limit handling and ultimate car control. You will understand and practice the building blocks of controlling a vehicle at and beyond its limit of adhesion.

The course itinerary has been carefully crafted, promoting confidence at grip limit. Gravel and tarmac rally drivers, racing drivers, track day drivers, drifters, advanced road drivers and driving coaches have all enjoyed and benefited from this unique coaching experience.

A successful drift is the culmination of many core skills polarized into one “extreme” exercise. Those core techniques are explained and demonstrated in finite detail. Whether you’re a novice or experienced hand, you will be nurtured through a series of building block exercises, tailored to your objectives and skill set:

  • Slalom
  • Slalom Drift
  • Figure of Eight Long, with braking weight transfer exercise
  • Figure of Eight Short, with braking weight transfer exercise
  • Drifting a single cone
  • Figure of Eight Transitional drift
  • Oversteer/Understeer correction & recovery
  • Drifting a circle, large radius up to 40m

Your training session will include presentations on:

  • Understeer
  • Oversteer
  • Lift off Oversteer
  • Roll Oversteer
  • Weight transfer
  • How a tyre grips the road
  • Identifying grip limit
  • Pendulum effect
  • Vehicle dynamic balance

Plus you will learn a few unique CAT drifting secrets. There is no comparable course available. Over the last 2 years nearly 200 Drifting & Over Grip Limit Handling Courses have been delivered by our instructors. Helping drivers to improve their stage and lap times, gain confidence, as well as increasing their driving pleasure.

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